How some gift card companies are helping stop scammers and get your money back

How to make sure you don’t fall for a gift card scam this holiday season

Scammers prey on your emotions to get you to do things that, logically, you might not consider otherwise -- like paying them over the phone with a gift card.

Usually, the minute you give the scammer the numbers from the gift card, your money is gone.

But, according to the Federal Trade Commission, some gift card companies might be able to get your money back now because they are flagging fraudulent transactions and freezing stolen gift card money so that scammers can’t get it.

Gift card scams start with calls, texts, emails, or social media messages, the FTC says. The scammer pretends to be someone they’re not: a company, the government, a family member or romantic interest. Their message is always urgent. And they want money. They’ll tell you to buy a gift card or maybe multiple gift cards. Once you do, they’ll demand you send a photo of the card or give them the numbers on the back of the card.

So if someone is telling you to pay them with a gift card in a scenario like this -- know it’s a scam!

But if you’ve already given the scammer the info, some gift card companies are working to give that money back to you.

So, if a gift card scam happens to you, act fast:

  • Report it to the gift card company. Tell them you were scammed. Give the gift card company the information from your receipt or a copy of the numbers on your gift card.
  • Ask for your money back. Once you report a gift card scam to the gift card company, ask for your money back. If the money was frozen or not downloaded by the scammer, some gift card companies will give the money back.
  • Tell the FTC at Your report makes a difference and helps #stopscams.

The faster you contact any gift card company to report a gift card scam, the better the chance of getting your money back. But it doesn’t matter when you were scammed with a gift card.

For more information about avoiding and reporting gift card scams, visit

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.